Jewish man fired by Unilever for taking time off during Rosh Hashanah in 2019 - report

Rosenbaum emphasized that his religion prevents him from working on those days, and took the time off anyway, notifying his superiors at Unilever via email about the situation.

 Unilever headquarters in Rotterdam, Netherlands August 21, 2018.  (photo credit: REUTERS/PIROSCHKA VAN DE WOUW)
Unilever headquarters in Rotterdam, Netherlands August 21, 2018.
(photo credit: REUTERS/PIROSCHKA VAN DE WOUW)

A Jewish man was fired from Unilever, the Ben & Jerry's parent company, for taking time off during Rosh Hashanah two years ago, The New York Post reported on Thursday. 

David Rosenbaum was working as a general manager at Unilever’s Englewood Cliffs at its New Jersey headquarters when he told Frank Alfano, his boss, that he planned to take days off for the Jewish holidays in 2019, to which his boss responded that he couldn't take time off for the Jewish New Year nor for Yom Kippur, according to Rosenbaum's lawsuit.

Unilever has been making headlines as of late for its decision to ban the sales of its ice cream in the West Bank.

Rosenbaum emphasized that his religion prevents him from working on those days and took the time off anyway, notifying his superiors at Unilever via email about the situation.

Rosenbaum was fired over the phone the next day. 

The court filing also stated that Alfano allegedly touched Rosenbaum and asked him to lend him money.

Ben & Jerry's ice cream (Illustrative) (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)Ben & Jerry's ice cream (Illustrative) (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Rosenbaum also worked with the ice cream company's marketing team to organize sales events. Rosenbaum alleged that his firing was "further evidence of Unilever’s antisemitism."

A Unilever spokesperson told The Jerusalem Post that "Unilever strongly refutes these allegations and has a zero-tolerance policy on antisemitism or any form of discrimination in the workplace."

It was reported in late July that Ben and Jerry's board chair made a statement that she was not antisemitic following Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s statement that the boycott is a “shameful surrender to antisemitism.”

However, another report that same month stated that Ben & Jerry's Board of Directors wanted to boycott Israel in its entirety, but was stopped from doing so by Unilever.

Ben Sales/JTA and Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.